Bike share program expanding into Stanley Park
Kendra Mangione and Rena Heer, CTV Vancouver
Published Thursday, September 22, 2016 6:25PM PDT
Vancouver's new bike share program is expanding into the city's largest park, with plans for seven stations where cyclists can rent a ride.
The Vancouver Park Board approved the new locations in the high-traffic hotspot on Monday, a decision some local businesses are strongly against. The board also approved another four stations elsewhere in the city.
Small bike rental shop owners located in the downtown core said they were misled to believe that the bike share program would not target tourists.
Operated by Mobi, the city's bike share program was scheduled to launch in mid-June, but was delayed until July when less than a quarter of the promised bikes were released.
Still, more than 73,000 trips have been taken on the bikes since July, so the city is calling it a success so far.
But even in its early stages, local bike rental shops were worried the Mobi bikes would bite into their client base. Many say they were assured the bikes would be catered to commuters, and would not hurt the local businesses who rent mostly to tourists.
"Inside the park isn't really a commute to and from work. That's where the issue begins," said Paulina Vargas from Bikes and Blades.
Now some of the shop owners say they feel they'll be forced to compete directly with Mobi, which is subsidized by the city. The Mobi bikes will also be right in the park, while the businesses' bikes are a few blocks away, so visitors to the park might be even more inclined to choose the more convenient options.
Sabha Saffari, from Stanley Park Cycles, said a station down the street has already cut his business back at least 35 per cent. He expects Mobi stations in the park itself will hit the shop even harder.
He said city officials consulted with bike shop owners, but then went against their wishes.
But a representative from the city said officials were clear that there would be stations around the downtown core, and that the bikes may be good for business.
"In many cases, what we've heard from other cities is there's actually an uplift in cycling in general, so this can be complementary to them," Scott Edwards said.
"The pricing structure is such that we would actually encourage people, if you want to rent a bike for more than half an hour or an hour, please go support one of the local businesses."
The newly approved Stanley Park stations will be located at:
- Second Beach south – 16 to 20 bike docks
- Second Beach north – 14 to 18 bike docks
- Third Beach – 32 bike docks
- Stanley Park Pavilion – number of docks not yet determined
- Vancouver Aquarium – 16 bike docks
- Information Booth – 18 to 20 bike docks
- Totem poles – 24 to 28 bike docks
The other new stations will be located at:
- Kitsilano Beach Park, south parking lot – 32 bike docks
- Sunset Beach, east parking lot – 32 bike locks
- Sunset Beach, west parking lot – 32 bike docks
- English Bay, bathhouse roof plaza – 30 bike docks